T his collection of the best science and nature writing published in the US last year is an excellent introduction to the key issues in science today. It's edited by Siddhartha Mukherjee , whose biography of cancer won the 2011 Guardian First Book award . Highlights include David Deutsch and Artur Ekert's attempt to see "beyond the quantum horizon" to where "truths that would otherwise remain hidden forever" may be glimpsed, and David Quammen 's scary report on how zoonoses , animal infections that cross the species barrier (such as the terrible Ebola virus ), remind us that we are part of nature: "There is no 'natural world'. There is only the world." Oliver Sacks writes a frank memoir about his experiments with mind-altering drugs, including a memorable encounter with a giant spider on his kitchen wall that sounded like Bertrand Russell and discoursed learnedly on analytic philosophy . Stephen Marche asks: "Is Facebook making us lonely?" and concludes that we have lost "the chance to forget about ourselves for a while, the chance to disconnect". Ah well, you can always unplug and read a good book.